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Bee Kip Ing

Bee Kip Ing

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Diversification booklet 1

Diversification booklet 1

Nicola Bradbear

Agricultural Support Systems Division Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome 2003

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to the Chief, Publishing Management Service, Information Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy or by e-mail to copyright@fao.org


FAO 2003

In order to provide farmer advisory and support activities relating to introduction of new income-generating activities. What actions might policymakers take to create enabling environments for small-scale farmers to diversify into new income-generating activities? It is important to point out that the Diversification booklets are not intended to be technical “how to do it” guidelines. and how they might enable small-scale farmers to take action.and middleincome countries.Preface Diversification booklets FAO Diversification booklets aim to raise awareness and provide information about opportunities at the farm and local community level to increase small-scale farmer income. For these organizations. as well as appropriateness and viability in differing circumstances. each booklet identifies complementary sources of information and technical support. Each booklet will focus on a specific farm or nonfarm enterprise or technology that experience has shown can be integrated successfully into small farms or at a local community level. We hope to provide enough information to help these support service providers consider new income-generating opportunities. most organizations will find it necessary to seek more information or technical support. If you find this booklet of value we would like to hear from you. We explore the potential benefits associated with new activities and technologies. Tell your iii Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . The main target audience for FAO Diversification booklets are people and organizations that provide advisory. What are farmer requirements and constraints? What are critical “success factors”? FAO Diversification booklets are also targeted to policy level people in government and non-governmental organizations. business and technical support services to resource-poor small-scale farmers and local communities in low.

If you have any suggestions where we can make changes for the better in our next edition.colleagues and friends about it. Italy iv . Agricultural Support Systems Division Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Rome. or topics for other booklets – this is equally important. Director. By sharing your views and ideas with us we can eventually provide better services to you.

■ Beekeeping helps to create sustainable livelihoods ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Beekeeping assets ■ Natural capital assets ■ Human assets ■ Physical assets ■ Social assets ■ Financial assets ■ Beekeeping outcomes Bees are diligent pollinators of fruit and seed crops ■ What is pollination? ■ Bees are good pollinators ■ Cross-pollination ■ Pollination affects crop quality and quantity ■ Protecting pollinators ■ More pollinating insects needed Bees around the world ■ Africa ■ Asia ■ The Americas Honey popular food ■ What is honey? ■ Honey quality ■ Harvesting honey ■ Water content Values of honey ■ As a food ■ As a medicine or tonic ■ As a cash crop ■ As an export crop ■ As cultural food Beeswax useful and valuable product ■ Beeswax quality ■ Income from beeswax ■ Uses of beeswax 1 1 2 3 4 4 4 5 7 7 7 8 8 9 9 11 11 12 12 13 13 13 14 15 17 17 17 17 17 19 21 21 22 23 v Table of contents Preface iii .

training and extension ■ Physical resources: equipment and transport ■ Financial resources: credit ■ Social resources: sector support and marketing ■ Project evaluation ■ Case studies Some apicultural terms Further information . books.■ Other products from bees ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Pollen ■ Propolis ■ Royal jelly Value-added products Apitherapy: healing with bee products In brief: how to keep bees ■ Obtaining bees ■ Choice of hives ■ Traditional hives ■ Top-bar hives ■ Movable-frame hives Beekeeping equipment ■ Smoker ■ Protective clothing ■ Hive tool ■ Harvesting and processing Promoting beekeeping projects as a source of livelihoods ■ Natural resources: indigenous species ■ Human resources: beekeeping skills. videos and CDs 25 25 25 26 29 31 33 33 33 34 35 37 39 39 39 39 40 41 41 41 42 43 43 44 46 53 57 Table of contents vi .websites.

Successful beekeeping draws upon 1 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . think about your own livelihood and all the diverse assets you depend upon: your skills. People who have limited cash or financial savings often have other assets or strengths – as opposed to needs – that can be mobilized. This is achieved by helping them to gain greater access to a range of assets. social and financial. it represents and symbolizes the natural biological interdependence that comes from insects. To understand this. helping people to strengthen livelihoods and ensuring maintenance of habitat and biodiversity. assets and activities required for a means of living. Strengthening livelihoods means helping people to become less vulnerable to poverty. is crucially important for agricultural well-being. however. human. pollination and production of seed. while not undermining the natural resource base. Beekeeping. telecommunications and the social networks you have been born into or have created yourself. equipment. No individual category of capital assets. It is easy to visit villages and not “see” beekeeping. and supporting their capacity to build these assets into successful livelihood activities.” ■ Beekeeping assets Individual livelihoods depend on access to many types of assets which fall into five categories: natural. Beekeeping is a useful means of strengthening livelihoods because it uses and creates a range of assets.Beekeeping helps to create sustainable livelihoods Beekeeping does not attract much attention. such as finance. unless actively looking for it. physical. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future. Chambers and Conway (1992) developed what is now the accepted definition of a livelihood: “A livelihood comprises the capabilities. is sufficient on its own to create a livelihood. This booklet shows the useful role that beekeeping can play in creating sustainable livelihoods. Useful small-scale efforts to encourage beekeeping interventions can be found throughout the world. access to transport.

market information and research findings. provided the natural conditions include available flowering plants. and marketing expertise. they will collect wherever they are able. agriculture and conservation activities. Flowering plants and bees are interdependent: one cannot exist without the other. There is no competition with other insects or animals for these resources that otherwise would be inaccessible to people. damaged or harmed. Where bees have not been poisoned. sunshine. all categories of capital assets. and freely available in the wild. Financial: cash. membership of groups and access to a wider society. Beekeeping ensures the continuation of natural assets through pollination of wild and cultivated plants. Wild or cultivated areas. biodiversity and environmental resources. Beekeeping provides an excellent bonus in addition to other crops rather than instead of them. energy and buildings. forestry. As bees visit flowers. ■ Natural capital assets Beekeeping livelihoods are built upon natural resource stocks: bees. although financial capital is not essential for getting started in productive beekeeping. Beekeeping fits in well alongside many other livelihood endeavours because it uses the same natural resources as. Social: help from families. Physical: tools. a place to keep them. knowledge.Types of capital assets needed for beekeeping Natural: bees. which is important for people who need to restore their livelihoods or create new ones. Bees collect gums and resins from plants and use plants and trees as habitat for nesting. wasteland and even areas where there may be land mines all have value for beekeeping. Beekeeping is possible in arid areas and places where crops or other enterprises have failed. water. savings and access to credit or grants. available for future generations of bees and 2 . they collect food and their pollination activities ensure future generations of food plants. good health and strength. the roots of nectar-bearing trees may still be able to reach the water table far below the surface. for example. Bees are a natural resource. transport. roads. equipment. Human: skills. This makes beekeeping feasible in marginal conditions. flowering plants and water. clean water. because only bees are capable of harvesting nectar and pollen. friends and networks.

Beekeeping goes beyond this. because it actually helps to sustain the natural resource base. The products of beekeeping are often used by women: the important tej (honey wine) industry in Ethiopia. for people too. It is a perfect self-sustaining activity. ■ Human assets Many societies have considerable traditional knowledge and skills concerning bees. Ethiopian women make and sell tej (honey wine) and non-alcoholic drinks based on honey. Pollination is difficult to quantify. beekeeping has traditionally been part of village agriculture. Throughout the world. but if it could be measured it would be the most economically significant value of beekeeping. it is essential to ensure that beekeeping is retained and encouraged in order to provide continued populations of pollinating insects. as farm- FIGURE 2 Many African women add to their livelihoods by brewing and selling honey beer.ing practices change. 1992). 3 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . By definition. honey and related products. Now. for example. a livelihood should enhance capabilities “while not undermining the natural resource base” (Chambers and Conway. is run by FIGURE 1 A mother and child in Nepal: just one hive of bees makes a significant contribution to the resources of the household.

Local associations provide the means for beekeepers to advance their craft. Credit is necessary for beekeeping associations to run collection centres and for traders to buy honey and beeswax. women brew and sell honey beer. There are situations all over the world where beekeeping can be especially valuable because it remains an activi- 4 . they are essential for development of beekeeping enterprises. energy. carpenters who make hives and stands. such as the beeswax foundation used in frame hives (see Figure 26).women. communication systems and buildings. Beekeeping projects have sometimes ignored existing knowledge or implied that it was wrong or out of date. which is worse. In sustainable beekeeping projects. Successful marketing depends on adequate supplies of containers for processing and packaging. water. tailors who make veils. roads. These are the types of human assets or skills needed to create livelihoods within a society. beeswax or other products. all equipment must be made and mended locally which. ■ Physical assets Successful beekeeping enterprises require production equipment and infrastructure such as transport. and gain access to markets. markets and new research results. find sources of training. A good beekeeping project will utilize available assets. There are many ways to manage bees and obtain crops of honey. and improve their understanding of the industry. ■ Financial assets Although significant financial assets are not essential to initiate beekeeping activities at subsistence level. Elsewhere in Africa. Beekeeping can add to the livelihoods of many different sectors within a society including village and urban traders. contributes to the livelihoods of other local people. in turn. ■ Social assets Social resources such as networks and producer and marketing associa- tions have great significance for beekeeping development. it will not depend on imported resources or equipment. lobby for the protection of bees. The best beekeeping projects recognize existing skills and build on them for greater income generation and to ensure sustainability. organize collective processing for honey and wax. clothing and gloves and those who make and sell tools and containers. Access to networks at a wider level through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Apimondia and Bees for Development helps beekeepers to make national and international contacts.

This is because bees are almost always available in the wild and equipment can be made from whatever materials are at hand. both wild and cultivated. and much of the world’s supply comes from developing countries. perhaps isolated by war or sanctions. honey generates income and can create livelihoods for several sectors within a society. • Beeswax is a valuable product of beekeeping. is vital for continued life on earth. funerals and religious . ■ Beekeeping outcomes Beekeeping produces a number of quite different outcomes. • Beekeepers and other community members can create assets by using FIGURE 3 A beekeeper in the Amazon. This work strengthens people’s livelihoods. 5 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods honey. Whether sold fresh at village level or in sophisticated packaging. • Pollination of flowering plants. wine and food items.ty that is possible for people living in the most difficult circumstances. propolis and royal jelly can be harvested and marketed. beeswax and other products to make secondary products such as candles. skin ointments and beer. beeswax and products made from them. Honey is a useful source of income for people living in or near tropical forests. although special techniques and equipment are needed for some of these products. have cultural value in many societies and may be used in rituals for births. such as candles. • Beekeeping products such as pollen. However. the best-known beekeeping product. • Products of beekeeping are used for apitherapy in many societies. Secondary product brings a far better return for the producer than selling the raw commodity. Honey is a traditional medicine or food in most societies. this essential process is difficult to quantify. • People everywhere like honey. marriages. • Honey.

strengthens their ability to plan for the future and reduces the danger that they will slip into poverty in a time of crisis. if a family member becomes ill or crops fail.celebrations. even though some of them cannot be fully quantified. for example. Bees and beekeeping have a wholesome reputation. These outcomes are real and they strengthen people’s livelihoods. Beekeeping helps people to become less vulnerable. 6 . Images of bees are used as symbols of hard work and industry. • Beekeepers are generally respected for their craft. often by banks and financial institutions.

and cereals such as rice and maize. Other crops provide fruit that develops with the seed. each plant species has specific requirements for this important transfer of pollen. legumes such as beans and peas. many depend on foraging insects to transfer pollen among flowers. 7 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . or female part of a flower.Bees are diligent pollinators of fruit and seed crops ■ What is pollination? Pollination is necessary for all seed and fruit production by flowering plants. Many species of insects visit flowers to seek nectar or pollen. thus contributing to pollination. because: • they have hairy bodies that easily pick up thousands of grains of pollen as they move about inside FIGURE 4 Everywhere in the world where there are flowering plants – there are bees . Seed is required for the production of the next generation of crops and allows plant-breeding programmes to improve varieties. for example citrus fruits. to the stigmas. while doing so most will transfer a few pollen grains. Honeybees are highly efficient pollinating insects. ■ Bees are good pollinators Plant reproduction requires the transfer of pollen from the anthers. and over 25 000 species have so far been described. or male part of a flower. mangoes and tomatoes. People harvest the seeds of some crops for food. nuts. After thousands of years of evolution and adaptation to local environments. either on the same plant or on a separate plant that may be some distance away. Transfer of pollen among flowers to allow their reproduction is a vital mechanism for maintaining life on earth. examples are oilseed crops.

but continuously forages for nectar and pollen to supply the daily food needs of the colony. such as passion fruit. ■ Cross-pollination Cross-pollination occurs when an insect moves pollen from one plant to another. Many varieties of fruit trees need cross-pollination. Adequate pollination FIGURE 5 Coffee in Yemen. Some crops. mustard and cashew. litchi. one bee may visit several thousand flowers of one plant species. Adequate insect pollination affects both the quantity and quality of crops: uneven. collecting nectar and pollen and continuously transferring pollen grains from one flower to another. Many. • they visit only one species during each foraging trip. 8 . • each foraging bee not only collects sufficient food for its own requirements. beekeepers obtain good honey crops from the abundant nectar produced by coffee flowers. almonds and melons are completely dependent on pollination by insects and otherwise will not produce crops. clover. they should be planted so that pollinizer trees are near the main crop trees. such as melons. such as field beans and mangoes. give a substantially increased yield when pollinated by insects. Yield improves significantly when optimally pollinated by bees. beans. are self-pollinating but give better yields if pollinated by insects. During a single day. ■ Pollination affects crop quality and quantity Crops vary in the extent to which they benefit from insect cross-pollination. Production of hybrid seed crops on a commercial scale creates a special need for cross-pollination by insects: a large population of pollinating insects is needed to carry pollen from rows of male plants to rows of female plants. such as avocado.flowers. sesame. small fruit often indicate insufficient pollination. cowpea. or by different periods of flowering of the same plant. Others such as sunflowers. It is needed when plant sexes are segregated on different plants.

banks and rough verges further reduces the habitat for ■ More pollinating insects needed Paradoxically. • Never use insecticides when flowers are open. In countries with highly mechanized agriculture. there is a risk of decreased crop yields in the future. the use of bees for pollination increased greatly during the twentieth century and became an integral part of crop production. Herbicides. . grazing or cutting of roadside verges and other destruction of flowering plants remove food sources for pollinating insects. Pollination can be as important in crop production as water or fertilizer. • Allow wild plants to flower on wasteland. nesting and hibernation sites for bees. stopping unnecessary pesticide use and increasing forage for bees by including nectar-bearing bushes and trees in planting schemes. if wild pollinating insects are destroyed. Intensive land cultivation and destruction of hedges. pollination can be the limiting factor. because they will help to support populations of foraging insects. foraging insects work on open blossoms and are killed by sprays at this time. in addition to honeybees living in the wild or managed in hives by beekeepers. Farmers can contribute to the protection of honeybees and their habitats as follows. Many factors have caused a decline in the numbers of these insects available for crop pollination. This results in a uniform and early harvest and gives the crop the maximum length of time to ripen. • Select and use insecticides with great care. intensive agricultural practices diminish the numbers of wild pollinators and at the same time increase 9 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods by insects also ensures that early flowers set seed. if insecticides must be used. • Make habitats more acceptable for nesting and hibernation of pollinating insects. Less research has been done on the pollination requirements of crops grown in the tropics. With the use of improved cultivars and irrigation. The pollination requirements of all major temperate zone crops are well known.■ Protecting pollinators Many other species of bees and pollinating insects living in the wild are highly important for pollination. This means increasing people’s awareness of the value of insect pollination. It is in everyone's interest to maintain strong populations of honeybees and other pollinating insects. The most serious threat to pollinating insects is the use of insecticides. spray at a time of day when crop flowers are closed.

Increased monoculture in the tropics means that flowering will be more concentrated. Adequate pollination increases the quality and quantity of many cash crops. Many fruit trees flower and fruit throughout the year. A similar dilemma is arising in the tropics. In the tropics. 1999). so large pollinator populations will be needed for shorter periods. where there has been an increase in mechanized farming and an accompanying increase in field size. Larger fields increase the need for pollination while a crop is flowering. special provisions for crop pollination are necessary for large areas of a uniform crop (Free. the same crop species may occur in a sequence of growth stages. Although pollen sources that allow crosspollination are naturally present in small mixed farms. yet have decreased the populations of wild pollinators. In temperate countries. however. large-scale monocultures have increased the need for pollination. Where growing conditions are favourable. albeit more abundantly at certain periods. The tendency to concentrate particular crops in certain areas intensifies this situation. and therefore forage for bees may be present at all times. yet decrease the ability of the local insect population to pollinate adequately. 10 . because when the major crop is not in flower there may be insufficient forage from other sources. crop flowering is more prolonged and less intensive than in temperate regions.the need for them. FIGURE 6 Market stall in Egypt.

Tropical honeybees are more likely to abandon their nest or hive if disturbed. Only bees that live together in large colonies store appreciable quantities of honey. Beekeeping equipment and technology have been developed for use with European races of honeybees. The most widely used honeybees are European races of Apis mellifera. but during the last four centuries European races of bees have been introduced to these regions. Trigona and Melipona (stingless bees) that people have recognized throughout the ages as sources of honey. During the last 30 years. Until the seventeenth century. European bees have been used increasingly in Asia. In some areas. They are more readily alerted to leave the comb and defend themselves. these include bees of the genera Apis (honeybees). These colonies will be harvested by honey hunters who climb the trees. honeybee colonies migrate seasonally. New Zealand or the Pacific islands. 11 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . they convert to honey and store as a food source.Bees around the world Many species of bees collect nectar. Australia. honey from bees was the only commonly available sweetening substance. a species of honeybee also indigenous to Africa and the Middle East. ■ Africa Apis mellifera are indigenous to tropical Africa. Most beekeeping literature relates only to these bees. cut off the honeycombs and lower them to the ground in baskets. because they have a greater chance of survival in the tropics. FIGURE 7 Colonies of wild nesting bees are the major source of honey in many areas of India. They are slightly smaller than the European races of Apis mellifera and their behaviour is notably different. Honeybees are not indigenous to the Americas.

FIGURE 8 Hive for stingless bees in Brazil. ■ The Americas There are no indigenous honeybees in the Americas. They have many of the typical African honeybee characteristics that have necessitated changed management practices and led to increased yields for beekeepers. Knowing nothing of these indigenous bees. some African Apis mellifera queens were introduced into Brazil. India and Nepal. most honey comes from gathering the large combs of wild nesting bees. ■ Asia There are many indigenous honeybee species in Asia. they are known as “killer bees” in the media and have spread through much of South and Central America and southern parts of the United States. on which basis the industry developed. and quickly proved dominant over them. others build individual combs in the open and cannot be kept in hives. In 1956. Honey hunters plunder these combs for honey. 12 . for example. Their ecological niche is filled by many different species of stingless bees that were and in some areas still are exploited for their honey. These bees survived far more successfully in tropical Brazil than their European Apis mellifera predecessors. In Bangladesh. which is particularly valued for its medicinal properties. European settlers long ago brought with them European bees. Some can be managed in hives.These are crucial factors governing tropical bee management.

for example. It is carried to the nest and stored quite separately from nectar. ■ What is honey? Flowers need bees to visit them so that plants will be pollinated. agave species give honey a bitter taste that is popular in some societies. ■ Honey quality The aroma. pale honey 13 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . Dark honey usually has a strong flavour and often has a high mineral content. Almost every society on earth has traditionally known and used honey. white honey. proteins and amino acids. Cave paintings near Valencia in Spain from 15 000 years ago depict men gathering honey. give a golden yellow honey. When the water content is reduced to about 20 percent. varying according to the nectar source. but a few pollen grains inevitably find their way into nectar and eventually into the honey. Sunflowers. they supply nectar. In this way the bees prepare for themselves a concentrated food source packed in minimal space. clover gives a sweet. The reputation of honey as a wholesome and popular commodity is a useful basis upon which to create livelihoods. and most people think of honey. Pollen is a minor but important component of honey. the bees seal the cell with a wax capping. therefore bacteria cannot grow in the honey and it will not deteriorate during storage. The temperature in a nest near the honey storage area is usually about 35 °C. This food sustains the bees through periods when there are no flowers. and small amounts of other substances such as minerals. Nectar is a solution of sugars and other minor constituents that bees collect and concentrate into honey. The Bible and the Koran extol the virtue of honey as a valuable and nourishing food. It is free from problems of fermentation. The honey is now considered “ripe” and will not ferment. This temperature and the ventilation produced by fanning bees cause water to evaporate from the honey. Honeys contain a wide range of sugars. it gives a guide to the plants on which the bees have been foraging.Honey – popular food Mention bees. taste and colour of honey are determined by the plants from which the bees have gathered nectar. As an incentive. vitamins. If the pollen in honey is identified through a microscope.

some perfectly fresh and unheated kinds of honey can be dark in colour. Granulation is a natural process. almost all honey granulates if its temperature falls below 15–24 °C. although the presence of pollen makes the honey even more nutritious. When the glucose crystallizes. Colour can also indicate quality. a new market is developing for honey that has been cold-filtered and not processed to remove all pollen. because honey becomes darker during storage or if it is heated. Some kinds of honey look cloudy because they contain a high level of pollen. Depending on the plants the bees are visiting. When honey is presented this way. ■ Harvesting honey Honey inside the nest that the bees have sealed with a wax capping is regarded by beekeepers as ready for harvest. the honey may even be FIGURE 9 Piece of honeycomb in India. there is no difference in nutritional value between solid and liquid honey. Honey at this stage is pure and perfect. If the beekeepers are working in remote places far from roads and industry. Glucose is a major constituent of honey. Such honey is sometimes said to be of low quality. different people favour different qualities of honey. 14 . overheating or over-filtration. some kinds of honey are more prone to granulation than others. The popularity of dark and light honey varies from country to country. whether it is in a wild nest. In Europe and North America. the consumer can see that it is fresh and uncontaminated. while others choose liquid honey.has a more delicate flavour. a home-made hive or the most expensive factory-made hive. the honey becomes solid and is known as granulated honey. Some prefer granulated honey. As with colour. However. This means that rural beekeepers using simple equipment can produce honey of top quality. The subsequent harvesting and processing of honey determine whether this quality is retained or whether it will be spoiled by contamination.

which is a small instrument that measures the refraction of light as it passes through a glass prism on which a few drops of honey have been smeared. In climates with high humidity where it can be difficult to retain low water content in honey. ■ Water content If the water content of honey is greater than 23 percent. Water content can be measured using a honey refractometer. the honey is likely to ferment. Honey processing on a small-scale requires the same simple equipment that is used in other forms of food preparation: bowls. Low water content is therefore important. airtight plastic buckets with lids are essential for honey storage. sieves or straining cloths and containers. 15 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods .certified as organic and command a premium price.

honey is used as a medicine or tonic and as a special treat for children. ■ As a cash crop Fresh local honey is always more highly valued than imported honey. Honey is often used as a barter commodity in villages.Values of honey Honey has value as a food. it may be sold in a simple way at village level. Here in Uganda. Most industrialized countries import honey to meet demand. Honey is a stable commodity with a long shelf life. as a cash crop for both domestic and export markets and as an important part of some cultural traditions. especially in remote areas or areas isolated by war or sanctions. it will FIGURE 10 Honey is a traditional medicine or food in nearly all societies. Many beekeepers sell their product directly to consumers. honey consumption increases. as a medicine. ■ As an export crop As standards of living rise. Honey often has an important place in traditional food preparation. ■ As a medicine or tonic In many parts of the world. remain wholesome for many years. Modern medicine is increasingly using honey for a variety of treatments. This requirement can provide developing countries with a useful source of foreign exchange from 17 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . At times of food shortage it is a useful carbohydrate source that contains trace elements and adds nutritional diversity to poor diets. ■ As a food Honey is valued everywhere as a sweet and tasty food. If harvested carefully.

FAO Trade Yearbook. 51. they are unofficial. honey generates income (Viet Nam).TABLE 1 World honey production and trade. although exports from African and Asian countries are significant. Vol. 18 . 1997 Production (tonnes) Import (tonnes) 317 630 171 30 1 992 2 296 83 295 20 135 587 21 223 75 950 Value (US$1 000) 539 820 336 70 3 279 2 393 130 383 57 246 707 37 282 124 852 Export (tonnes) 264 701 70 422 13 287 8 408 48 306 3 800 1 13 061 1 26 900 27 904 4 111 Value (US$ 1 000) 453 546 108 361 22 159 17 054 69 200 5 5 000 33 406 1 41 090 83 2 430 7 858 Total Argentina Australia Canada China Cuba Ethiopia Germany Kenya Mexico South Africa UK USA 1 112 000 65 000 26 000 29 000 188 000 6 000 31 000 12 000 26 000 54 000 1 000 3 000 90 000 Sources: FAO Production Yearbook. 51. Vol. FIGURE 11 Packaged in a more sophisticated way. Note: This table lists only official figures.

Each country has a large beekeeping industry that is an important part of their agricultural economy (see Table 1). In the Masai society of East Africa. Because beekeeping does not use land. China and Argentina. honey wine is brewed for weddings. marriage and funeral ceremonies. Honey also has a high cultural value: eating honey or using it for anointing are part of many traditional birth. production of honey for export need not conflict with growing crops for local consumption. honey is used to pay the bride price. this cultural connection is evident in the term “honeymoon”. The countries with the highest honey exports are Mexico.honey exports. 19 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . ■ As cultural food Honey is widely used as a source of sugars for making honey wines and beers. in Ethiopia. All developing countries can export honey if production is in excess of local requirements.

although the waxes produced by different species have slightly different chemical and physical properties. The presence of pollen turns it yellow. Bees use the comb cells to store honey and pollen. ■ Beeswax quality Beeswax is valued according to its purity and colour. the wax hardens and forms scales. 21 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . which are the wax seals with which bees cover ripe honeycombs. because dark wax is likely to have been contaminated or overheated. the queen lays her eggs in them. FIGURE 12 Beeswax. Beeswax is produced by all species of honeybees. Bees use the wax to build the well-known hexagonal cells that make up their comb. The finest beeswax is from wax cappings. and young bees develop in them. Light-coloured wax is more highly valued than dark-coloured wax. On contact with air. This new wax is pure and white. About one million wax scales make 1 kg of wax. which appear as small flakes of wax on the underside of the bee. It is produced by young honeybees that secrete it as a liquid from special wax glands. a very strong and efficient structure.Beeswax – useful and valuable product Beeswax is the material that bees use to build their nests.

The blocks are broken into small pieces to assure buyers that the beeswax is pure and clean. • Beeswax processing is easy.■ Income from beeswax For several reasons beeswax is an excellent commodity for rural communities to use as a cash or export crop. It can be moulded into blocks using any suitably sized containers as moulds. • As with honey. 22 . • In areas where most or all of the honey produced is consumed locally and where there is no major local use for beeswax. • Beeswax does not deteriorate with age. because no special packaging is required. honeycombs are often discarded. Rendering beeswax to a quality suitable for export involves only simple heating and filtering methods to ensure that the beeswax is clean. because beekeeping does not use land required for local food production. even though they could provide additional income. Beeswax is normally exported as small unwrapped lumps in hessian sacks. • Transport and storage of beeswax is simple. Individual beekeepers or cooperatives can store small amounts until they have enough to sell. beeswax can be considered an appropriate export crop for developing countries. Beekeepers sometimes need to be trained in methods of rendering and FIGURE 13 Beeswax processing in Tanzania.

There are more than 300 industrial uses for beeswax. and require first-class beeswax that has not been overheated. The price ranges from US$4 to US$8 per kg. 1994 Production (tonnes) (tonnes) Export (tonnes) Import Angola Argentina Australia Chile China Dominican Republic Ethiopia France Germany Japan Kenya Korea Mexico Portugal Spain Tanzania Thailand Uganda United Kingdom USA 1 500 1 500 482 500 12 800 350 2 100 317 264 206 210 1 563 1 275 766 1 050 600 9 150 375 730 1 050 2 302 780 3 027 1 615 50 437 421 847 Source: Data from Bees for Development. accounting for 70 percent of the world trade. Note: A good deal of beeswax is exported from Africa by unofficial routes. soaps and polishes. Beeswax is in great demand on the world market. In some countries in Asia and Africa. 23 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . and encouraged to sell their combined crop in one transaction. TABLE 2 it is used in village industries such as candle-making and as an ingredient in ointments. ■ Uses of beeswax Beeswax has many traditional uses. it is used in creating batik fabrics and in the lost-wax method of casting small metal objects. Beeswax is widely used as a waterproofing agent for wood and leather. and for strengthening threads. Other World Trade in Beeswax. medicines. Cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries are the major users.saving beeswax.

for example. Asia and Central and South America produce large amounts of beeswax. Beeswax is a valuable export commodity for Ethiopia. Beeswax is used in the manufacture of electronic components and CDs. The ratio of honey to beeswax production using these hives is about 10:1. For this reason countries in Africa. 24 . however. in grafting waxes and in specialized industrial lubricants. FIGURE 14 Traders in Pakistan discuss prices of beeswax harvested from wild bee colonies. Honey hunting or the use of traditional or top-bar hives results in greater yields of beeswax. which can provide a valuable export crop (see Table 2). and beekeepers in northwest Zambia harvest both wax and honey from bees nesting in bark hives as cash crops for export to Europe. in polishes for shoes. With frame hives. Industrialized countries use frame hives for beekeeping. Empty honeycombs are returned to the hive after the extraction of honey. which means that relatively little beeswax is harvested. in modelling and casting for industry and art. furniture and floors. the delicate honeycomb is broken during the extraction of honey and cannot be returned to the nest or hive.significant users are the beekeeping industries in industrialized countries that need beeswax for cosmetic foundations and for candle-making. the ratio of honey to beeswax production is approximately 75:1.

bees will produce a number of other products all of which enjoy commercial markets. Pollen prices are high in Europe and East Asia. 5 percent fat and many minor constituents. secure and hygienic. This glue-like substance. FIGURE 15 Pollen ready for harvest. Pollen is relatively simple to harvest from frame hives using a trap fitted to the hive entrance. Bees use propolis: • as building material to decrease the size of nest entrances and to make the surface smooth for passing bee traffic. • to varnish inside brood cells before a queen lays eggs in them. 30 percent carbohydrate. propolis and royal jelly. 25 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . its volatile oils must serve as a kind of antiseptic air-freshener. As with honey. Honeybees use propolis to keep their homes dry. a grid knocks the pollen out of the pollen baskets on their back legs and it falls into a tray. These include pollen. so it is a potentially useful source of nutrition. usually dark brown in colour. Propolis is used to seal up any cracks where micro-organisms could flourish. from which it is collected. draught proof. It contains 30 percent protein. ■ Pollen Pollen is valued as a health food. propolis differs in composition according to the plants from which bees have been collecting. some people believe that it can help to combat allergies. When the bees pass through the trap. is called propolis.Other products from bees In addition to honey and wax. ■ Propolis Honeybees collect resins and gums from buds or injured areas of plants.

For beekeepers in remote areas. Propolis can be a useful income source: its current world price is about US$10 per kg. T h e A p i s f l o re a . uses rings of propolis like bands of grease to coat the branch from which its single-comb nest is suspended as a protection from predators. ■ Royal jelly Royal jelly is the food that worker bees give to freshly hatched larvae. FIGURE 16 Since the 1970s. • to embalm the bodies of mice or other predators too large for bees to eject from the nest. access to markets is more of a problem than harvesting the product. soaps and ointments. 26 . which would otherwise decay and be a source of infection.providing a strong. It is a common ingredient in toothpaste. royal jelly harvested from European races of honeybees has been an export crop for beekeepers in Thailand. It contains many insect growth hormones and is valued as a medicine. Dissolving propolis in alcohol makes a tincture with many claimed medicinal properties. waterproof and hygienic unit for developing larvae. Propolis has long been used as a medicine. o n e o f t h e Asian honeybee species. it has been proved scientifically that propolis kills bacteria.

relatively small amounts are imported by other industrialized countries. The main countries harvesting royal jelly commercially are China. The main market for royal jelly is Japan. Taiwan and Thailand. a larva destined to become a queen bee develops in a special large wax cell. inside which worker bees place large amounts of royal jelly. fats.27 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods tonic or aphrodisiac in various parts of the world. transport and marketing. Harvesting royal jelly and its subsequent processing and packaging call for skilled techniques of honeybee colony manipulation and sophisticated technology. Royal jelly deteriorates quickly after harvest and must be kept frozen or freeze-dried during handling. Royal jelly has many different components including proteins. Under natural conditions. specifically to produce royal jelly for harvest. Worker bees produce vast amounts of royal jelly – extra sugar must be fed to the colony to achieve this – and place it in the queen cells. Instead of feeding on it and developing into queen bees. Honeybee colonies can be manipulated by beekeepers to start producing great numbers of queens. . storage. minerals and vitamins. perhaps 50 or more. sugars. the larvae are removed and the royal jelly is harvested by beekeepers.

beeswax soap can bring a good price at market and is a popular product for sale to tourists. Honey. beeswax. people know the techniques required to produce ash for making caustic soda. which is an important ingredient. some of whom may not be interested in actually keeping bees or have the means to do so. golden or pale yellow in colour and not damaged by heat. and to have good knowledge of the ingredients and products and access to small containers for packaging and marketing.Value-added products It is to the advantage of producers to find ways of adding value to bee products. pollen or propolis can be used in a variety of foods. as opposed to selling only the raw products. If it is neatly made and attractively packaged. cosmetics. Beeswax used in soap must be of excellent quality – pure. There are many traditional ways of making soap that can be modified and improved by including beeswax. Making wax candles may be the easiest way to increase profits FIGURE 17 Using beeswax in the lost-wax casting method to make small metal ornaments for sale to tourists in Ghana. In some villages. creating more livelihood opportunities. and these methods can be used. ointments and other goods that can be made and sold locally. It is essential to work in hygienic conditions. It is easy to make profits from beeswax by manufacturing ointments or cosmetics. The main difficulty in soap production is obtaining and safely handling caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). Beeswax provides an excellent material for making high-quality soap. 29 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . The manufacture of value-added products from beekeeping can involve various groups.

(Malaysia).from harvested beeswax. 30 . batik art and small metal ornaments made by lost-wax casting – both processes use beeswax – can create livelihoods for artisans. In developing countries with tourist industries. FIGURE 18 Using beeswax in batik work.

FIGURE 19 Propolis for sale in Brazil. propolis and bee venom.Apitherapy: healing with bee products It is said that the word “medicine” derives from “mead” (honey wine). Honey has antibiotic properties: it is a sterile solution with a high sugar concentration that prevents the growth of micro-organisms. 31 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . Countries in Asia and eastern Europe have a wealth of traditional knowledge of apitherapy – the healing properties of bee products. and its permeability allows oxygen to pass through it. In recent years. It is highly acid. honey and the products of bees have long been used as medicine. beeswax. Honey. used in bee-sting therapy. are the main bee products used in apitherapy. there has been a worldwide revival of interest. Honey is good for healing wounds and for skin treatment: its hygroscopic property is good for drying out wounds. Whether or not this is true. It contains enzymes which produce hydrogen peroxide that kills bacteria.

32 .Propolis also has medicinal properties: the gums and resins that bees gather from plants for propolis are the very substances exuded by plants for their own protection and healing. FIGURE 20 Wide range of bee products for sale.

perhaps rubbed inside with some beeswax to give it an attractive smell. The few regions without introduced honeybee diseases are mainly in developing countries. hives may be placed in trees. It has been known for thousands of years. is practised throughout the world wherever colonies of wild nesting honeybees are abundant. ■ Choice of hives Beekeeping does not need to take up valuable land.In brief: how to keep bees Honey hunting. The wild colony will already have a number of combs. however. which can be tied to top-bars or into the frames of a hive. and used beekeeping equipment must never be moved from one area to another without expert consideration of the consequences. This makes beekeeping feasible for smallholders and landless people. there were serious consequences for the beekeeping industries in some countries. It will be beneficial if these countries can retain their stocks of disease-free honeybees. The best way to start is with the assistance of local beekeepers. or even single queen bees. Another way to get started is to set up a hive. and wait for a passing swarm of bees to occupy it. or plundering the nests of wild honeybees to obtain honey and beeswax. This will only be successful in areas where there are still plenty of honeybee colonies. bee diseases were spread around the world as a result of people moving honeybee colonies. The methods used will be determined by the types of bees available. ■ Obtaining bees Bees can be obtained by transferring a wild nesting colony to a hive. A good site should have a water source 33 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . on scraps of wasteland or flat rooftops. There are many ways to utilize honeybees for their pollination services or to obtain products from them. that obtaining honey is easier and more convenient if bees are encouraged to nest inside a hive. Honeybee colonies. Depending on type. During the last quarter of the twentieth century. This housing of bees in a container is true “beekeeping”. but the term is used loosely to describe all the techniques involving bees and the harvesting and processing of their products. and the skills and resources available to the beekeeper.

but traditional beekeepers can benefit from assistance in obtaining protective clothing. ■ Traditional hives These are made from local materials such as hollowed-out logs. woven grass or cane – whatever is suitable and available. the hive will remain empty for a while.nearby. The sole purpose of the hive is to encourage bees to nest in a place accessible to the beekeeper. clay pots. 34 . just as they would build it in a natural cavity. bark formed into a cylinder. depending on the skill of the beekeeper. If there are plenty of honeybee colonies in the area. Traditional beekeepers often own many hives and expect only a portion to be occupied by bees at any one time. a swarm may eventually settle in the empty hive and start building a new nest. There are three main types: traditional hives. The beekeeper plunders the nest to obtain crops of honey and beeswax. Bees may or may not be killed during this process. plenty of flowering plants and trees in the area and shelter from wind and strong sunlight. movable-frame hives and top-bar hives. FIGURE 21 Traditional local hives made from logs in Bhutan. A hive is any container provided for honeybees to nest in. All the materials required should be locally available. If the colony is destroyed. The bees build their nest inside the hive.

As with traditional local hives. 1999). Many different designs have been published (see Aidoo.FIGURE 22 End removed to show inside a traditional hive: the bees build their combs from the top of the hive. and help in locating markets for their products. bees are encouraged to construct their combs from the undersides of a series of bars. smokers and containers for the honey. As a very general guide. This spacing will depend upon the species and race of honeybee. the container for the hive may be constructed from whatever materials are locally available. The only items that need to be constructed with precision are the top bars. Apis mellifera in Africa – 32 mm and Apis cerana in Asia – 30 mm. ■ Top-bar hives Top-bar hives have the same advantages of manageability and efficiency in harvesting honey as movableframe hives. 1999 and Sakho. the width of top bars needed for Apis mellifera of European origin is 35 mm. The best way to 35 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . which must provide the same spacing for combs in the hive that the bees would use in the natural nest. To make the hives manageable. without the disadvantage of high manufacturing costs. These bars allow individual combs to be lifted from the hive by the beekeeper. All equipment can be made locally.

FIGURE 24 Top bar and comb. determine the optimum width is to measure the spacing between combs in a wild nest of the same bees.FIGURE 23 Top-bar hive beekeeping in Cape Verde. kept deep in forests. In some countries. Top-bar hives can also be an 36 . The volume of the brood box should be roughly equal to the volume of the cavity occupied by wild nesting honeybees. Groups of women beekeepers may prefer to begin beekeeping with top-bar hives that can be made and kept close to home. An advantage of this type of equipment is that it opens up beekeeping to new groups of people. who use hives made from bark. traditional beekeeping tends to be an activity for men only.

which is where the queen lays her eggs and young bees develop. which allows increased honey production because the bees do not have to build fresh combs. ■ Movable-frame hives These hives are used in most industrialized countries and some developing countries. • They allow for efficient harvesting of honey. A queen excluder – a metal grid with holes that allow worker bees to pass through but not the larger queen – is placed between the box with the brood and the box above it. nails and foundation. • They allow for inspection and manipulation of colonies. particularly foundations and frames. This ensures that only honey is stored in the boxes above the queen excluder. The spaces 37 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . The bottom box is usually used for the brood nest. because the honeycombs in their frames can be emptied and returned to the hive. stacked on top of one another. along with various other specialized items of equipment. Rectangular wood or plastic frames are used to support the combs. Frames are arranged in the boxes like suspension files in a filing cabinet. floor and roof are required. such as moving frames of bees or honeyfilled frames (stores) from a strong colony to strengthen a weaker one. These frames have two major advantages. There must be access to replacement parts. inexpensive way of housing large numbers of colonies for pollination purposes. A hive stand. Frame hives require seasoned timber that is accurately cut and planed and materials such as wire.FIGURE 25 Top-bar hive in Nepal. They are therefore relatively labour-intensive to make and maintain. Boxes must fit together precisely and the spacing between frames must be the same as in a natural nest. especially in Central and South America and Asia. Frame hives must be constructed with precision. Frame hives consist of a series of boxes. usually of wood.

North and Central America and Australasia and are not necessarily suit- able for other races and species of honeybees. FIGURE 26 Beekeepers with their frame hives in Albania. 38 .between combs. nest volume and other features of standard frame hives have been developed for use with European honeybees in Europe. When buying equipment it is important to have an understanding of the honeybees to be housed and the specifications of the equipment offered.

thus providing a useful stimulus for local industry. more experienced beekeepers find that wearing too much protective clothing makes them hot and the bulk makes it difficult to work sufficiently gently with the bees. Rubber bands also prevent bees from crawling up trouser legs or shirtsleeves. ■ Hive tool Some bee species tend to close every gap and seal every joint in the hive with propolis. secured at the wrist with a rubber band. ■ Protective clothing A broad-brimmed hat with a veil protects the head and neck from stings. 39 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . but beekeeping clothes – basically modified overalls – can be made locally. Some beekeepers merely put a plastic bag over each hand. The smoker consists of a fuel box containing smouldering fuel such as dried cow dung. maize cobs or cardboard. The hive tool is a handy piece of metal used to separate boxes. hessian. Protective clothing gives beginner beekeepers confidence. Imported clothing can provide useful prototypes. The beekeeper puffs a little smoke near the entrance of the hive before it is opened and gently smokes the bees to move them from one part of the hive to another. and has a bellows attached.Beekeeping equipment ■ Smoker A smoker provides beekeepers with a source of cool smoke needed to calm the bees. Imported smokers are useful as prototypes. which adds to local livelihoods. FIGURE 27 Equipment for small-scale beekeeping should be made locally: a manufacturer of smokers in The Gambia. but smokers can be manufactured by village blacksmiths.

bees put effort into honey production rather than beeswax comb production. the beekeeper selects combs which contain ripe honey covered with a fine layer of white beeswax.scrape off odd bits of beeswax and separate frame-ends from the supports. After the honey has been separated from the combs. usually those nearest the outside of the nest. Combs containing pollen or developing bees are left undisturbed. the honeycomb can be broken and strained through muslin or another form of filter to separate the honey from the beeswax. Honey is obtained from frame hives by spinning the frames in a centrifugal extractor. the beeswax can be melted gently over water into a block. Because the combs are recycled. ■ Harvesting and processing Honey is harvested at the end of a flowering season. It is possible to use an old knife for this job. In traditional or top-bar hives. Alternatively. Honeycomb can be simply cut into pieces and sold for a premium price as fresh cut-comb honey. Honeycombs harvested by honey hunters can be processed in the same way. This explains why the beeswax yield from frame-hive beekeeping is low compared to traditional beekeeping methods. but knife blades tend to be too flexible and give insufficient leverage. 40 . The empty honeycombs are then returned to the hive. Village blacksmiths can easily produce suitable implements.

There are many ways to assist honey hunters or beekeepers to build on their resources to create more income by harvesting and processing honey more skilfully. such as including trees for bees within planting schemes to improve pollination and increase crop harvests. Indigenous honeybees have evolved and survived successfully under local conditions and will be better suited to them than introduced bees. assisting honey hunters through beekeeping or making and marketing honey wines or beeswax cosmetics. The addition of a little technical information. and to obtain better prices by saving and selling beeswax and by making secondary products. Training is often theoretical rather than practical. should normally be available to people. Beekeeping fits in well with other interventions and is often incorporated as one of a number implemented. how to separate honey from beeswax. governments or NGOs. ■ Natural resources: indigenous species Beekeeping projects can improve the potential for beekeeping by planting melliferous vegetation.Promoting beekeeping projects as a source of livelihoods There are many different entry points for projects to strengthen livelihoods with beekeeping. how to 41 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . New beekeepers need training in how to work with bees. Beekeeping projects have been started in many developing countries and are frequently supported by international organizations. placing emphasis on changing the type of hive used without providing practical guidance and follow up. The European honeybees introduced into many countries and African bees introduced into Central and South America currently form the basis of successful beekeeping industries. ■ Human resources: beekeeping skills. Some minimum resources. how to maintain honey quality. however. training and extension Beekeeping is a widespread activity with a wealth of existing local knowledge and skills. Beekeepers and trainers often lack appropriate training materials – most of the literature discusses keeping European bees in temperate zone conditions. however. can lead to greatly improved harvests of honey and beeswax.

but such buckets are useful for beekeepers living in remote places who need to keep their honey clean until they are able to sell it.render beeswax. large-scale processing equipment capable of dealing with honey in bulk. and credit with which to acquire them. The equipment needed for beekeeping can be simple: the humble plastic bucket is one of the most essential items. The answer is not merely to donate the items but to train local people to make their own equipment and find access to good containers and packaging. Lack of access to transport and markets is usually the major constraint for beekeepers in remote places. special gauze for filtering honey and refractometers to measure water content. stackable plastic buckets may not bring great professional kudos to the beekeeping expert. Recommending good-quality. In some areas. beekeeping using traditional local hives is practised on a large scale and justifies the provision of relatively sophisticated. ■ Physical resources: equipment and transport Limited access to transport is the main reason why beekeepers in remote areas receive the lowest prices for their products. such as effective taps for use on honey containers. lidded. Projects can do much to alleviate this problem. FIGURE 28 Ethiopian beekeepers carrying their honey to market. a few specialized items often have to be imported. Where a cooperative has established a honey-packing unit. The appropriate equipment for harvesting and processing honey and beeswax depends on the quantities to be processed and the type of product required. Honey of excellent quality can be harvested as long as clean buckets are available. containers and packaging. along with cotton or baskets for sieving honey and containers for melting wax and packaging the honey and other products. how to manufacture secondary products and how to make beekeeping clothes and equipment. Rural people can find it difficult to obtain equipment. 42 .

Marketing initiatives can involve promoting honey in the media. there are usually government officers responsible for training and extension in beekeeping. much can be done to increase retail honey sales. lack of credit is a major constraint to everyone concerned with selling and buying honey. however. no interest from traders and a stagnant industry. policies are needed to promote apiculture and protect pollinators. establish communication between producers and traders and facilitate marketing. A national NGO is a considerable advantage and able to represent the interests of beekeepers. especially for small volume markets. The first aim of a marketing initiative should be import replacement. for example. interacting with consumers and traders to increase honey consumption and sales. and creating links with packaging suppliers. Often. people are keen to buy honey when it is well presented and they have more confidence in the product. for example. In many developing countries. they have little relevant training and lack access to transport and other resources. Beekeepers with honey to sell expect to receive cash from honey-collection centres or private-sector traders. • Ascertain that the planned intervention is appropriate for the people concerned. focus the intervention to reach them. People buying honey need access to credit during the honey season. by improving and diversifying packaging. otherwise they prefer to sell their honey in small quantities in markets to obtain an instant but low cash return.■ Social resources: sector support and marketing In poor countries. Honey consumption increases according to living standards. • Recognize that beekeepers are often the poorest people in local society and may live in remote places. • Determine that the producer groups will have market access. 43 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods ■ Financial resources: credit In poor societies. which means ensuring that local . by providing assistance with technical aspects of beekeeping or product marketing. Lack of credit leads to insignificant volumes of honey being available for sale. National Project planning • Establish the most effective entry point for a beekeeping intervention. if more honey and beeswax are harvested.

44 . often reveals that hives of a newly introduced technology are not always used efficiently. Good training and follow up are essential. In some countries. and it cannot be learned in the classroom. This type of certification can help smallscale producers to find niche markets that pay premium prices.honey is packaged and presented as attractively as the imported brands. Beekeeping is a seasonal activity. Closer examination. Donors and local leaders might be satisfied with the outcome of such projects when shown convincing numbers of new hives installed in new apiaries. Only when the local need for honey is satisfied should export be planned. The true test of success in any beekeeping development project FIGURE 29 Many beekeeping projects have introduced technology the use of which could not be sustained after the end of the project. Honey export to the European Community requires expert knowledge of trade rules and import requirements (Bradbear. Here. a storeroom full of unused equipment is all that remains from a project that depended on imported equipment and materials. producers have benefited from having their honey or beeswax certified as organic or produced according to fair-trade criteria. ■ Project evaluation Many beekeeping projects have involved the distribution of hives and equipment and the provision of technical training. 2001). as inexpensive honey is readily available on the world market. however.

however. . such as imported woodworking machinery for making hives that may become unusable as soon as a spare part is needed. natural and financial assets to support this type of beekeeping. human. if such a project is to succeed. Training is sometimes irrelevant to local resources and knowledge. In far too many beekeeping projects.45 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods should not be “How many hives were distributed?” but “Were people’s livelihoods strengthened?” Small interventions such as beekeeping projects are not always popular with donors. In poor societies. a large portion of which is inevitably intended for equipment. Frame-hive beekeeping is practised in all industrialized countries and many projects have tried to introduce this type of beekeeping in poor countries. Frame-hive equipment should not be used unless the infrastructure exists for manufacturing it locally. It is essential that the a community have the physical. large beekeeping projects with high capital input are frequently doomed to failure. a well-meaning donor has allocated a significant budget to a project. This has led to equipment being introduced that is not always appropriate to the resources available.

■ Case studies Case study of an individual bee farmer: Gladstone Solomon, Tobago My grandfather was a self-employed cocoa farmer and agriculture always attracted me. But not having been prepared for cutlass-and-hoe farming, I had to find a less rigorous activity. Gazing at a honeybee landing on a dew-soaked flower early one morning awakened a sense of destiny within me. I knew then that I would eventually become a beekeeper. A three-day introductory course at the Farmers’ Training Centre in Trinidad gave me my first exposure to beekeeping. This was supported by practical sessions at the Apiaries Unit Tobago with two of the island’s more experienced beekeepers. After this I started beekeeping with two nucleus hives. I read anything on the subject and made contacts with as many beekeepers as possible. A British beekeeper who visited the island on several occasions was particularly helpful, not only to me but to the island beekeeping community, which was organized as a cohesive and vibrant group: The Tobago Apicultural Society. My wife Sharon and I now manage approximately 70 colonies and market honey (extracted and chunk), beeswax, pollen and – the latest addition to our product line – handcrafted soaps with beeswax and honey. Our three sons earn pocket money by assisting in various aspects of the business. July, 2001

FIGURE 30 Gladstone Solomon harvesting honey.


Case study of a project for beekeepers in Uganda: Joy Mugisha, the UWESO UK Trust Our first project was in the Luwero District, an area severely ravaged during the civil war. Beginning in 1995, participants were trained in the production of honey and beeswax, equipment was provided and a honey-processing centre was installed. The project is now self-sustaining. Typically, a trained project officer from the NGO Uganda Women’s Effort to Save Orphans (UWESO) provides training, advice and starter equipment to families supporting orphans and chosen by the local UWESO branch. The beekeepers develop the hives and gradually increase the number, so that after two or three years a family may be operating about 30 hives. Each hive should produce two crops of honey and wax each year, which can be taken to the UWESO collecting centre and sold to local companies for local and export markets. This can provide a return of perhaps US$1 400 in a year – well above the average family income level in rural areas. The cost of such a project to the Trust is about US$140 000 including the costs of the project officer, equipment and a collecting and processing centre. If 150 families can each increase their annual earnings by US$1 400 - the return on the single investment of US$140 000 is, amazingly, about US$210 000 each year! Even if some families underperform, the financial returns amply justify the investment. July, 2001

FIGURE 31 The UWESO honey and beeswax collection centre at Lyantonde, Uganda.


Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods

FAO project example – Iraq: requirement for technical assistance In 1995 the Iraq Beekeepers’ Association approached the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for assistance. Members expressed their concern about the widespread deaths of honeybee colonies in Iraq. During the 1970s and 1980s, beekeepers in Iraq practised sophisticated beekeeping, depending largely on imported equipment and stocks of honeybees. This ended following the enforcement of United Nations sanctions in 1991. Beekeepers were no longer able to import the beeswax foundation used in frame-hive beekeeping. Lack of beeswax and equipment to make foundation led to the use of contaminated material and a build-up of disease in honeybee populations. The isolation of Iraq meant that beekeepers were unaware of the rapidly changing status of bee disease and current methods of control, especially of the predatory mite Varroa. FAO provided technical assistance to help identify and control honeybee diseases and mites, and to support local manufacture of clean stocks of beeswax foundation.

FIGURE 32 Making fresh beeswax foundation, Iraq.


This assistance would ensure adequate stocks of bees for pollination of alternative new fruit crops. In 1996. and would enable some farmers to create income from beekeeping. developing a training programme. they requested FAO assistance to encourage farmers to take up beekeeping.FAO project example – St Vincent and the Grenadines: requirement for sector support The St Vincent Ministry of Agriculture recognized the need for local farmers to diversify beyond banana production. 49 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . FAO assistance came in the form of capacity-building: training ministry staff in beekeeping. establishing demonstration apiaries for farmers. St Vincent currently enjoys the rare situation of disease-free stocks of bees. encouraging local manufacturers to begin making beekeeping equipment and proposing policies for protecting the beekeeping industry. FIGURE 33 Making beekeeping clothes in St Vincent.

the women learned to make skin ointments and other secondary products useful for people living in harsh and isolated conditions. FIGURE 34 Training Afghan beekeepers: in the first part of the course trainees made their own veils. FAO provided training for women and men beekeepers. so that they can continue without need for external inputs. Men and women have been given training in making all the equipment needed for frame-hive beekeeping. In addition to harvesting honey. because bees are available and equipment can be made locally. with many fruit and oilseed crops requiring pollination by bees. 50 . Since beekeeping can be practised in a home compound.FAO project example – Afghanistan: assistance for people living under stress Beekeeping has traditionally always been a successful part of Afghan agriculture. beekeeping was regarded by the Taliban regime as an acceptable activity for women in Afghanistan. beekeeping remains a livelihood option. Despite the lack of resources. a highly valued food under current circumstances. The current war situation in Afghanistan has led to restrictions on movement and loss of resources and opportunities for livelihood creation.

and they may lose confidence in themselves. disabled people frequently become marginalized and forgotten. The department has a staff of nine. which is available on the FAO website. It has trained many disabled people in the country to become practical beekeepers and has set up a network of community producers. An NGO in Mauritius has shown that this need not be so. It provides the organizational skills training that supplies beekeepers with equipment. for more information check out the Craft Aid website. materials and information. Craft Aid recently shared its experience with the publication of a booklet entitled Small enterprise development. They have won medals at the prestigious National Honey Show held in London each November. They target the tourist trade and selected overseas retail markets to sell honey and other products that match the highest international standards. For much of their lives. Craft Aid of Rodrigues established a model apiary as part of its honey department. they remain dependent on a caring family and the society around them.Case study: disabled beekeepers – agro-industries development Disabled people face particular difficulties in earning sufficient income.mu 51 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . production and sales are profitable. In poor communities where sufficient resources are never available. In 1997. Training. more than half of whom are handicapped. Paul Draper Craft Aid Port Mathurin Rodrigues Island Mauritius pdraper@intnet. and buys surplus honey and wax for processing and sale.

A single hexagonal wax compartment. Honey and pollen are stored in cells. Each colony of honeybees contains one queen bee who is the female parent of the colony.Some apicultural terms Apiary Apiculture Apis Apis cerana Apis dorsata Apis florea The location of a number of colonies. Australasia and the Pacific. All stages of immature honeybees: eggs. the space between two parallel combs or between a comb and the wall of the hive. Apis mellifera Bark hive Batik Bee space Beeswax Box hive Brood Cell Chunk honey Colony 53 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . A species of honeybee indigenous to some parts of Asia and the Middle East. larvae and pupae. The giant or rock honeybee. for example. See cut-comb honey. Each honeybee develops in a cell. European races have been widely introduced to other areas. A technique for producing designs on cloth by putting wax on those parts of the cloth to be protected from dye. It nests in the open and cannot be kept inside hives. and used to build comb. The honeybee species indigenous to Africa. A gap large enough for bees to walk and work in. indigenous to Asia. Wax produced by honeybees. a few hundred drone bees and thousands of worker bees. The science and art of bees and beekeeping. including the Americas. The genus to which honeybees belong. Honeybees are social insects. they live only as part of a colony and not individually. the basic unit of a comb. A hive made from the bark of trees. An Asian species of honeybee that can be kept inside hives. African races have been introduced to South America and have spread to Central America and the United States. One of the many types of hives used to keep bees. secreted by special glands on the underside of the abdomen. Europe and the Middle East. Asia.

Development charities have agreed international standards of fair trade for commodities produced in poor countries. Issues include freedom of association. chocolate. honeybees would not necessarily build their comb in the orientation required by the beekeeper. A number of frames hang parallel to one another inside the hive. wage levels and use of child labour. Plants that are not self-fertilizing must be cross-pollinated before they can develop seeds. The transfer of pollen between flowers of different plants of the same species. tea. The combs cannot be detached from the hive without breaking them. A worker honeybee that collects pollen. Drones undertake no work within the hive: their sole function is to fertilize the queen. A thin sheet of beeswax embossed with the hexagonal pattern of a comb. orange juice. Without foundation. sugar and bananas. In addition to honey and beeswax. working conditions. the products include coffee. A male honeybee. This accelerates the process of comb construction. 54 . The centrifugal machine in which honey is spun out of cells in frames of honeycomb. A hive in which bees build their nests with the combs attached to the wall of the hive. Flowering plants that provide nectar and pollen for bees. The number of plant and animal species in an area. water or propolis for the colony. Pieces of honeycomb containing honey and presented for sale with the honey still in the comb. nectar. Many crops depend on cross-pollination by insects. A sheet of foundation is placed in each wooden frame and serves as a base on which honeybees build their comb.Comb Cross-pollination Cut-comb honey Diversity Drone Extractor Fair trade Fixed-comb hive Forage Forager Foundation Frame The wax structure made of hexagonal cells in which honeybees rear young and store food. Member organizations cooperate in awarding fair trade marks and labels to products that meet fair trade criteria. A rectangular wooden frame that holds a sheet of wax foundation.

Granulated honey Honey in which some of the sugars have crystallized. it is used to increase colony numbers or to rear queens and breed bees. Low-technology hive A hive that is simple. cheap. All are social bees that store significant quantities of honey. drug treatments or heavy metals. fertilizers. or the stigma of another flower. Organic honey Generally taken to mean honey that is free from any residues of pesticides. Nucleus A small colony of bees created by a beekeeper from an existing colony or colonies. Frame hive 55 Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods . The wax is then poured out and replaced by molten metal. concentrated by them and stored in combs. Honeybees Species of bees belonging to the genus Apis. Pollen The fine dust-like substances that are the male reproductive cells of flowering plants. often a fixed-comb hive. Pollination The transfer of pollen from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the flower. The wax model and its clay coat are then fired to harden the clay and melt the wax. Meliponinae The subfamily to which all stingless bees belong. Movable-frame hive A hive containing frames. Nectar A sweet liquid secreted by flowers. It is a watery solution of various sugars. Honey hunting Plundering wild bee colonies for their honey. The model is created in wax then covered with a shell of clay. The honeybees are encouraged to build their combs in these frames. Nest The home of a bee colony where bees live on their comb or combs. which allows the recycling of combs. Hive Any container provided by people within which bees can build their nest. Honey Nectar or plant sap ingested by bees.A hive that contains frames. Livelihood A way of making a living. Lost-wax casting A technique for making an object by casting it in molten metal. Collected by bees as a food source. reliable and repairable. The frames then enable combs to be lifted from the hive for examination. Local hive A hive made from local materials.

A hive containing top bars. 56 . Plant resins collected by honeybees and used by them to seal cracks and gaps in the hive.Pollination agent Propolis Protective clothing Queen Refractometer Sustainable development Sustainable livelihoods approach Top bar Top-bar hive Traditional hive Bees act as pollination agents when they transfer pollen from one flower to another. Clothing to protect beekeepers from being stung by bees. Honeybees build parallel combs suspended from a series of parallel top bars. The female parent of the colony. nectar-seeking birds and bats. Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs . Apart from insects. an approach to understanding the nature of poverty and to implementing and assessing poverty-reduction interventions. A way of thinking about objectives. Most traditional hives are fixed-comb hives. scope and priorities for development. other agents that may bring about the transfer of pollen are wind. An instrument used to measure the refractive index of honey.as defined by the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development at the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit. as with frame hives. A piece of wood on which honeybees build their comb in a top-bar hive. gravity. the only sexually developed female. This usually means a hive made according to local tradition. and from which sugar concentration and water content can be calculated. this enables the beekeeper to lift individual combs from the hive for inspection or to harvest honey.

Brighton.fao.htm). C. Sustainable livelihoods: lessons from early experience.undp. Wallingford. Hilvarenbeek: Research Centre for Insect Pollination and Beekeeping. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin No.fao. 50: 10–11. 1999. Rome. D. Chambers. 1995. Warning signals from the Apple Valleys. R. IDS Discussion Paper. The Netherlands. 1992.ifad. 2000. & De Ruitjer. Roubik. Studies. United Nations Development Programme Sustainable Livelihoods Unit: http://www. 2000.W.B.org/poverty.org. 53: 4–5. J. videos and CDs ■ Sustainable livelihoods approaches Ashley. Free. G. ■ Online resources DFID Livelihoods Connect: http://www. 57 .uk. 51: 6–7. ■ Video Partap. ■ Pollination Delaplane.htmlnet. FAO. 118. K. Insect pollination in greenhouses.org/docrep/x7749e/x7749e01.org/waicent/faoinfo. & Conway. Sustainable rural livelihoods: practical concepts for the twenty-first century. UK. Pollination of cultivated plants in the tropics. A. Pollination in the tropics. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD): http://www. Utrecht University. & Carney. 1999. 2001.org/sl/index. Overseas Development Institute (ODI): http://www. London. books. D. Sommeijer. Utrecht.oneworld. & Mayer.nrp. 31 minutes. PAL/VHS.htm. U.org/odi. Italy. CABI. Beekeeping & Development. D. FAO: http://www. M. University of Sussex. UK. Crop pollination by bees.Further information websites. DFID. Inter-agency Experiences and Lessons: DFID/FAO forum on operationalizing sustainable livelihoods approaches (available at http://www.livelihoods. Institute Dev.R.

G. ■ Honey Gonnet. UK. L. Tunbridge Wells.B. ■ CD-ROM Freitas. A vida das abelhas. London. The biology of the honeybee. 1999. W. Bucharest. 1999. The magic trees of Assam.. Universidade Federal do Ceara. Beetsma. ■ Beeswax Battershill. Constable. Brazil. London. IT Publications. 1997. A.. Utrecht University. Millington. 1991.. Johns Hopkins University Press. G. London. Cardiff Academic Press. H. H. ■ Videos Al-Alawi. 58 . E. (In Portuguese). Fortelaza. 23 minutes. Apimondia Publishing House. Textbook of melissopalynology.M. Winston. 1997. UK Michener. Romania.. O’Toole. Bucharest. G. Search Press. ■ Other products from bees D’Albore. Boston. D. L. D. Velthuis. The documentary: honeybees in Oman. The world history of beekeeping and honey hunting. Defence strategies of giant honeybees. M. UK. 1997. Utrecht. B. 1988. 45 minutes. Beeswax crafts. 1989.. R. 1999. Kasterberger. M. 2000. 1996. Mass. & Vache. & De Vries.R. & Pinder. 1999. & Raw. Cassell. Traditional methods of candle making. 2000. Boot. The biology of stingless bees. PAL/VHS/NTSC.■ Bees around the world Crane. Robberts. The Netherlands & University of São Paulo. Sommeijer. G. C. Perspectives for honey production in the tropics.. Duffin.D. The bees of the world. The Netherlands. Bees of the world. P. USA. Brazil. Cardiff. Duckworth.J. E. A taste of honey. N. 1996. 51 minutes. Harvard University Press. C. Utrecht. Kasterberger. Apimondia Publishing House. São Paulo. J. Honey identification. PAL/VHS/NTSC.. NECTAR. Crouch. Sawyer.S. PAL/VHS. R. 1992. M. London.

FAO. 2000. 1996. 124. 2001. 2001. Apimondia Standing Commission for Apitherapy. P. Value-added products from beekeeping. Cornejo. ■ CD-ROM Cherbuliez. beeswax and vegetable oils. Italy. Italy. Apicultura práctica en América Latina. Charlestown.com. G. Tobago Apicultural Society and Tobago House of Assembly. K. Italy. 1999. The Saltpond hive. Beekeeping Division of the Forestry Department. Clauss. (In Spanish).fao. H. ■ Online resource Apimondia Standing Commission for Apitherapy: http://www. Zambian beekeeping handbook.R. ■ Apitherapy Kaal. Medicine from the bees. UK. Starkville. 1999. ■ Beekeeping in brief: how it is done Aidoo. exhibiting and judging. Medical aspects of beekeeping. 68/3. 1995.). Beekeeping in development. H. Rome. 1999. FAO.htm). 1990. Riches. Rome. 1993. H. 1997. Krell. 50: 6–7. FAO. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.org/docrep/w0076e/w0076e00. R. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin No. T. Nairobi. E.apitherapy.M. (In Spanish). Ndola. DFID. 59 . (In English. Proceedings of the First Caribbean Beekeeping Congress. 1991. R. Rome.■ Making value-added products Bianchi. Rome.G. (Also available at: http://www. Zambia. Kaal’s Printing House. E. Control de calidad de la miel y la cera. Bee Books New and Old. ■ Video Wendorf. Kenya. & Solomon. & Domerego. Northwood. J. Valley Hills Press. Soap: seventy tried and true ways to make modern soap with herbs. Natural medicine from honeybees. USA. 81 minutes. Riches. Collins. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin No. B. 105. The Netherlands. UK. Bees for wealth and health: Wambui finds out. PAL/VHS. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin No. French and Spanish. Apimondia. 1991. Amsterdam. Trinidad and Tobago. Italy. L. White. HR Books. 1998. Beekeeping & Development. Mead: making.

1995. (Available at www. 2001 Small enterprise development. beekeeping and ecological agriculture. Ministry of Agriculture. Shrestha. 1999. PAL/VHS. 22 minutes. P. Beekeeping in development. India and Oxford. H. Ontario. Bees. Beekeeping & Development 58: 6–7. M. Sakho. UK. ■ Promoting beekeeping as a source of livelihoods Bradbear. Beekeeping handbook..R. 81 minutes. S. Wongsiri.. PAL/VHS. N.erfate.htm). 1999. African honeybees: how to handle them in top-bar hives. IBH Publishing Company Ltd. & Draper. Gaborone. Verma. U. 23 minutes. Fisher. 1996. E. Asian bees and beekeeping. ■ Video Wendorf. The Asiatic hive bee: apiculture. M. Beekeeping & Development 51: 3–5. 60 . K. H. Honey market eco-protectionism? Beekeeping & Development 59: 1. H. Kevan. Bradbear. Sustainable strengthening livelihoods: exploring the role of beekeeping in development. Bees for Development. Beekeeping in development. ISBN 1 898807 01 9. ■ Case studies Disabled beekeepers – agro-industries development Craft Aid. Keystone Foundation. & Jackson. Ministry of Agriculture.org and http://www. 2000. Wendorf.fao. PAL/VHS.com/fmr. K. Troy. 1995. Enviroquest Ltd. biology and role in sustainable development in tropical and subtropical Asia.. PAL/VHS. Craft Aid in Rodrigues: Bees and Disabled People. Clauss. 1991. 81 minutes. B.K. UK. Sustainability in Senegal: the Vautier hive.eucis. P. 2000. 30 minutes. Canada. L. & Partap.Matsuka. 2001. PAL/VHS. New Delhi. 2001.. Honey hunters of the Blue Mountains. ■ Videos Agriculture man ecology. N. 2002.R. 1999. Duggan. Botswana.

101 00186 Roma Italy Fax: +39 06685 2287 E-mail: apimondia@mclink. Apiacta.it Website: www. Further information from: Apimondia Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The AAA operates a network of Asian beekeepers.ac. The Apimondia congress. and alternates with the Apimondia congress. Apimondia can assist with information on any aspect of apiculture.Organizations for beekeepers ■ Apimondia Apimondia is the World Federation of Beekeepers’Associations. Further information from: Asian Apiculture Association Honeybee Science Research Centre Tamagawa University Machida-Shi Tokyo 194 8610 Japan Fax: +81 427 398 854 E-mail: HSRC@agr.org ■ Asian Apiculture Association (AAA) The AAA organizes a conference in Asia every second year. organized every two years. is the major international event for everyone involved with any aspect of beekeeping.jp 61 .tamagawa. Apimondia publishes a quarter journal.apimondia. that contains bee research for beekeepers.

62 .planbee.org.org. provides information and publishes the international journal Beekeeping & Development. Further information from: Bees for Development Troy Monmouth NP25 4AB United Kingdom Fax: +44 (0)16007 16167 E-mail: busy@planbee.uk ■ Ilustrations All images © Nicola Bradbear.■ Bees for Development (BfD) Bees for Development is an NGO based in the United Kingdom that assists beekeepers in developing countries. BfD organizes training.uk Website: www.

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